Young Reds Ready For National Duty

Photo: (L-R) Kyle Bekker,  Ashtone Morgan, Jonathan Osorio & Doneil Henry

Canada will host Costa Rica in an international friendly on Tuesday night in Edmonton, Alberta (on Sportsnet at 8 p.m. ET). This will be Canada’s first international match of 2013 in Edmonton and could feature four Toronto FC players.

Defenders Doneil Henry and Ashtone Morgan and midfielders Jonathan Osorio and Kyle Bekker left straight from Boston on Sunday morning after Toronto lost 2-0 to New England the previous evening. Henry played 90 minutes for Toronto and Osorio entered in the second half to help spark the Toronto attack that saw improved possession and more shots following the midfielder’s introduction.

Long out of FIFA 2014 World Cup qualifying, Canada now looks to get its house in order in time for this summer’s Gold Cup, the regional championship for CONCACAF countries.

Having represented Canada at the Under-20 and U-23 levels, including stints as Canadian youth captain, 20-year old Henry is poised to become a regular on the senior national team as a first choice centre back.

“I’m not looking to be a future player, I’m looking to be a player for right now,” Henry said on Saturday night before departing for Edmonton.

“Everytime I put on the Maple Leaf I do it with pride and joy for my country.”

“I know I’m young but that doesn’t mean anything to me, I just want to go out there and play.”

Henry’s teammate and another Brampton, Ontario native Osorio could win his first national team cap on Tuesday night. Like Henry, the soon-to-be 21-year old would love nothing more than to represent his country at the highest level.

“I’m really happy, I’m ecstatic, my family is ecstatic,” Osorio told Toronto FC TV late last week when he received the national team call.

The midfielder remarked that he arrived at preseason from TFC Academy hoping to earn a contract with the senior team, and quickly caught favour with Reds’ head coach Ryan Nelsen. Osorio is now making regular appearances in Major League Soccer.

“I did not expect any of this to happen so fast, to be honest with you,” Osorio humbly admitted.

All four Toronto players are expected back for Saturday’s match against Philadelphia at BMO Field.